Merch Madness!


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We discuss the history of the "band t-shirt," its resurgence today, companies that are finding new ways to innovate band t-shirts, and why musical artists rely so heavily on them.

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Merch Madness!

  1. 1. Merch Madness Indie Acts Put Their Money Where Their Shirts Are Article by Cortney Harding (Billboard issue Nov. 17 2007) Presented by Bryan Higa
  2. 2. A Trend Was Born <ul><li>1956 </li></ul><ul><li>Elvis Presley’s record company releases a T-shirt with a picture of the singer on it. </li></ul><ul><li>Over 40 years later, band T-shirts go through a number of trend cycles. </li></ul><ul><li>Popularity peaked during the late ‘80s. </li></ul><ul><li>Dropped out of favor during the ‘90s because of high prices. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What About Today? <ul><li>In recent years, the band T-shirt has begun to make a comeback. </li></ul><ul><li>As album sales fall, artists and labels are frantically seeking other ways to make money off of their content. </li></ul><ul><li>Selling more and better merch is high on their strategy list. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Band T-shirts
  5. 5. The Importance of Merch <ul><li>Daylen Dalrymple, who has done merch for Spoon and the Decemberists, says that with her experience with larger indies, “merch can comprise as much as 30% of the profit from a tour.” </li></ul><ul><li>For smaller indies, that percentage can be even higher. </li></ul><ul><li>Her current band she’s having out has a guarantee of between $150 and $300 per night and “they make $150 selling merch every night, easy,” she says. </li></ul><ul><li>Dalrymple also has noticed more bands investing time and energy in designing their shirts. </li></ul><ul><li>Spank Rock partnered with indie design companies to produce unique shirts. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>, a recently launched Web site, aims to monetize the Long Tail theory for the indie band T-shirt industry and make each shirt different. </li></ul><ul><li>A group can upload any number of images, then provide fans with a link to its zazzle page. </li></ul><ul><li>Fans can visit the site, select from a wide variety of custom cuts and styles, and then manipulate the images to create their own, one-of-a-kind shirt. </li></ul>
  7. 7. T-shirts from…
  8. 8. Zazzle Partners up! <ul><li>Myspace </li></ul><ul><li>Allows bands to design products and sell merch by putting the Zazzle Merch Booth widget on their Myspace profile. </li></ul>
  9. 9. BUT… <ul><li>Some record stores say they’ve yet to see an explosion in how many shirts they move. </li></ul><ul><li>Mike Fratt, manager of Homer’s (a 6-store chain based in Omaha, Neb.), said he “lost a lot of business when Hot Topic started, and even though [they] carry some indie shirts, [he] wouldn’t say [they’ve] seen a resurgence.” </li></ul>
  10. 10. Fashion Trends of the Day <ul><li>Fratt also points out that the rock band shirt business is cyclical and largely dependent on the fashion trends of the day. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The fact that the guys on [HBO’s] ‘Entourage’ wear so many band shirts has definitely had an influence.” </li></ul><ul><li>As long as stars of TV, Movies, and Fashion keep wearing their favorite tour tees, it appears bands should be able to sell enough shirts to get them to their next big gig. </li></ul>
  11. 11. What do YOU think? <ul><li>Do you buy shirts with your favorite band on them? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do you usually buy them? At concerts/stores/online? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do you buy them? </li></ul>
  12. 12. THE END